Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Unexpected inspiration

This is a gray, chilly, rainy day typical of December in the South. What makes it a good day is that I'm off work today and have had the leisure to sit curled up in my favorite blanket and read. I finished Julie & Julia this morning. The book and the movie have had a lot of buzz, and I know I'm going to have to add the movie to my queue. The book was good, Streep is a genius, and Amy Adams is showing the potential to be one of the best actresses of her generation, so the movie is calling me to watch it.

What I hadn't heard in all the buzz (probably because I wasn't listening) was that Julie & Julia is about blogging as much as it is about French cooking. Julie Powell landed her book and movie deal through a blog she started in 2002, a couple of years before I started blogging. The Julie/Julia Project got started as the result of a big identity crisis. Julie was working as an underpaid, highly frustrated secretary for a government agency, out of step with her single and successful friends, living in a place she didn't like and wondering if she would ever do anything with her life.

Need I say I identified? Let's see...job frustration, low income, friends in very different life circumstances, not liking one's home, feeling like a failure whose life is passing her by, writing talent that's not getting fruitfully used. Check, check, check, check, and check. Well, Julie cracked the code. Now a successful author, she turned her life around by finding something that interested her and writing about it without the expressed goal of publication. She gave herself a project deadline, several emotional meltdowns (oops, let's add another check to the list), gained a bit of weight, a lot of insight and did it by blogging. She found friends and support in unexpected places (another check), found her sense of self and most importantly her sense of joy. Also she crushes wildly on David Straithairn (another check) and is a terrible housekeeper (yet another check, though thank goodness, I've never found maggots in my kitchen). She didn't start her blog with the expressed goal of landing a book deal. Compared to what else she found along the way, that almost seems a lucky coincidence.

So with this not so neatly checked off list of similarities, the possibility of solidifying my sense of self and finding some joy again seems a pretty strong possibility for me. I like the idea of giving myself a deadline. They've always worked well for me, but a deadline for what is the big question. I'm going to have to think about that for awhile. Right now, it's enough that I feel a sense of possibility, another thing I haven't felt in a long time.


Blogger Magdalene6127 said...

Loved the movie, have the book on the pile to read... and yes, it is an inspiration to think that following our bliss (i.e., writing what interests us!) can lead to such important gains as finding a sense of self. I'm so happy for you feeling that possibility again!

December 08, 2009 2:37 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

See? Maybe we won't be so quick to dismiss what we do here in blogland as not quite valid.

December 08, 2009 4:31 PM  
Blogger alphawoman said...

I had an afternoon to kill one day in August and saw the movie. Loved it. Highly recommended. Better than the book (can you believe it!! I said that) b/c the movie blends two books together My Life in France by Julia and the Julie/Julia book. I read both books and MLIF just sings off the pages. You can hear Julia Child's funny voice ringing through. A lovely story. I began to read the JJP on the internet, she never took down/off her bog and it is wonderful too. She really deserves a pat on the back for her perserverence. (I never claimed to know how to spell). Ever since reading the book I have thought about all the writers that I have known who have received book deals....it all seems to be about a "theme" ......hmmm.

December 09, 2009 8:37 AM  
Blogger alphawoman said...

I mean bloggers who had blogs who became writers when they got book deals...lol! But, I guess you realized that.

December 09, 2009 8:39 AM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Mary, I think you're on to something about the theme.

December 09, 2009 1:28 PM  

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